Write in Good Times and Bad

Some people do their best writing while they are depressed. And others write beautifully when they are happy, their emotions lending wings to their minds and their fingers. It’s all down to emotion at the end of the day, and how one perceives feelings, and reacts to them.

I’ve learned that people react so differently to the same emotions and situations, which is why you can never win at situations no matter how hard you try. If you can’t get through to someone, you can’t get through to them.

In my previous life I have managed to write the best during my times of depression, but now that I am 25 and feeling a way I have never felt before in my life, I find that words somehow escape me.

I don’t know why this is. I thought that if I let my emotions out in stories they would somehow live a life on paper that they couldn’t live inside my mind. But it doesn’t work. On paper they seem mundane and mismatched. They teeter and totter on the edge of a cliff and fall off. They are the missing planks in a swaying wooden bridge, and you just fall right on through when you try to follow the track.

They just do not do the truth any justice, and it leaves me feeling frustrated and sad.

So I have come to the conclusion that my best writing happens when I am marginally sad, but not overwhelmingly so. When I see hope shining like a beacon at the end of a time period. Now time appears to stretch endlessly before me and hope is dragging her heels behind. Why, Hope, WHY? Well, she replies, I really don’t think that time has anything for me at the end of her path. I feel like time is shaving pieces off me as each of her seconds drip off her chain, like desolate, worthless diamonds.

Did you know that diamond rings are worthless if you want to resell them? Jewellers will only charge you for the price of the band, whatever metal it was made from. A fascinating piece of knowledge I got from my husband’s friend’s wife, who is a jeweller. I’d always wanted a diamond ring but now I am glad I don’t have one. But I digress.

You see my sadness cannot be fixed with time, or so the naive youth in me bemoans. It knows it will have to go through a harrowingly narrow tunnel before anything changes. Or it could get solemnly worse and I will just end up old and regretful and the vicious cycle continues.

So there. I am an in-between writer. I can’t write well when I am happy and I can’t write well when I am desolate, but there is a good in-between niche that hits the spot just fine.

Apparently L M Montgomery wrote her later Anne novels when she was in depression. Perhaps that is why the Anne voice we know and love recedes massively in her later novels.

Some people can write when they are both happy and depressed. Others can channel their particular emotions while writing and produce work that is representative of it, challenging themselves marvellously and being just ridiculously talented at making terrific use of their mental state, whatever it may be, to produce written work.

What kind of writer are you? Do you write best when you are happy, or sad? Or both? Or do your emotions not feature in your creativity at all?

Also, secret question, are all men afraid of conflict? Is it an inherent trait of a man? Is that why they don’t communicate with their wives/partners?
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Mundane

I don’t have very many friends. People I used to consider my closest friends have all moved on to greener pastures, making me feel as though my own is rather faded and yellow.

It is, though. It is true. I have a few very close friends but I rarely see them as I live far away from them and am now inundated with life.

I see other people have friends in their own vicinities and wonder at the fact that mine are spread all over the country.

I do know that it’s because of my life situation. Growing up I had friends a plenty because I went to school with the same people for 3 years, then three years, and then three years again. But when I was sixteen I moved back to the UK and that is where my friendships sort of withered away.

I guess I was very different from the people around me because I’d been brought up in a different country, so that sort of made me feel uncomfortable around them, and teenagers can sense this sort of stuff. I ended up being a loner in the library just munching on books. Figuratively speaking.

Looking back, I now realise that I was sad and did nothing about it. I was reserved and held back even though people invited me to places and offered to be my friend. I thought they were just being ‘nice’ not realising they genuinely meant it. That was pretty stupid of me.

I also got married at 19. I was pretty young I think and I don’t think it was a rash decision at all, but sometimes I do think perhaps I ought to have found myself first. I don’t regret it one bit – marriage is hard but we work on it and more often than not come out on top.

So I guess in my life I just was never in the right place or right head space to have a solid group of ‘friends’ like other people have – in the same town, meeting up whenever we like to.

I have to schedule meet-ups with friends months in advance and spend the rest of the relationship either on the phone or via text. It works, but it’s a bit sad.

So mostly, even though I worked a full time job and completed a degree in these past five years, I live a pretty mundane life. Which leads me to believe that my mind is pretty mundane and repetitive. I suppose that is not true, but one can’t help feeling like that sometimes.

You see, when you have friends who you see often and interact with, you sort of develop a repertoire of speech and nuances in your humour that you wouldn’t otherwise discover by yourself. I know this because every time I hang out with my friends I emerge a more energetic, witty and bubbly version of myself.

My mother in law told my mum once, ‘Oh, it’s like a ray of sunshine when Len comes into the house’. That was back in the day when me and my husband were ‘courting’. Now I am a sour puss. I am not saying this to blow my own trumpet – it’s just evidence to me that if I have friends and am surrounded by people, I am far nicer and more droll than when I spend hours and days alone. Words tumble from my mouth in such a smooth way it shocks me, whereas if I’ve been a lone, talking is a bit like chewing on lead.

Yes even at work I was alone – an editor sits at a computer most of the day and interacts minimally as editorial work is lonely work.

Anyway. That is what I have to say about the word ‘mundane’. That and also boy am I glad I am not at university anymore – some of those lectures were MUNDANE.

What does the word ‘mundane’ make you think of?

Conscience

I am challenging myself to write a post every single day in May, to kickstart my writing again. I will be following some prompt words that I ‘stole’ from somebody on instagram. Here is my sixteenth post – a day late!

 

When you see a group of teenage boys legging it out of a grocery superstore as though there were jets on their heels, you just know they are up to no good.

‘Where’d you park the car, Mark?!’, one of them yelled, while the rest guffawed, their trainers hitting the road with barely a sound as they whooshed past little old ladies tottering out with their trolleys. I could hear the rustling of the bags of sweets and whatnot in their hands, as two more dashed out the supermarket and sped across the carpark like they were being chased. Loud laughs and shouts and whoops as they leaped into their car and it took off with a swerve, shooting out that carpark sharpish.

The world was quiet again after they’d gone. No security guard came rushing out after them. Nothing.

I guess large chain supermarkets account for small thefts like this?

I couldn’t help staring at those kids as they were running. The excitement and adrenaline was plain for all to see. Togetherness, teenage fun. It certainly isn’t moral but it is memories being made, so does that cancel out the crime?

I confess, I stole once too. I must have been about seven. It was a packet of chewits and I ate them in the supermarket as I trailed behind my parents, without them noticing. When my mum found out she gave me such a telling off. She made me pay for it out of my pocket money and apologise to the manager. Never had I been so mortified. But she did it all in such a way that, out of pure ethical reasons, not fear, I never stole again. I was tempted a few times but I kept remembering the things she told me about being upstanding and having good character and I didn’t do it. She gave me a conscience.

But if I was a teen and my friends pressured me into it, would I have given in? I like to think not but you never know unless you’re actually in that situation.

Did you ever steal something when you were younger?

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Storms

I am challenging myself to write a post every single day in May, to kickstart my writing again. I will be following some prompt words that I ‘stole’ from somebody on instagram. Here is my twelfth post.

Sometimes

You gotta

Be the calm

While the storm rages.

Because

It’s only after the rain falls

That the storm

Settles.

Umbrella

I am challenging myself to write a post every single day in May, to kickstart my writing again. I will be following some prompt words that I ‘stole’ from somebody on instagram. Here is my ninth post.

When my brother and I were very small, our parents moved us away from rainy England to Dubai, where it barely ever rained and the sun shone down upon the barren desert with a beaming ferocity that unrivalled anything we had ever known.

You see, if I were to describe England to you using only the colour spectrum, I would say it was ramaadi (grey) and a thousand shades of green, with a few splotches of brick red thrown in for good measure. Clouds here are stunning, and seemingly perpetual. When it rains it does not rain as it does in Malaysia (there it POURS). It is a slow sort of rain, seemingly innocent and gentle, but viciously incessant, soaking you through in a matter of minutes all while apologising meekly and drizzling away.

The green is of all hues. Dark sultry evergreens, pale shoots, regular green of birches, the humdrum green of privet, cheery green of oak, green hills rolling away into the distance and grass that just grows and grows and grows. Green ivy creeping over beautiful homes and driveways fringed with neatly clipped grass. An abundance of green and all looking like it came out of a picture book – which I suppose it did, for Beatrix Potter did base her paintings on the Lake District!

When you fly above England it’s all neat little squares of varying shades of green. It’s similar in France I suppose but there is a foreign vibe to it there and lots of browns creep in.

When you fly above the United Arab Emirates the land is brown, a hundred shades of it, and you can see the winding marks on the earth where rivers and mountain ranges signify a land that barely changes. It’s always changing in England, for we have seasons. In Dubai there is summer and winter and a week or two of rain and that’s it.

So whenever we came back home to England for the summer holidays, my brother and I relished the rain and the greenery like a pair of mad children. We ate buttercups and yanked all the dandelion seeds off their stems, blowing until we were blue in the face. I naughtily picked the neighbour’s flowers because they were pretty and sobbed inconsolably when my mother gave me a good telling off about it.

My mum bought us two children’s umbrellas one summer, darling little things, coloured like a rainbow, and we would rush into the garden when it rained and stand out there like a pair of wallies under our umbrellas. The neighbours thought we were bonkers and their dog barked at us.

Those odd children standing out in the wet under umbrellas!

It was such a novelty, you see. The pattering of soft rain on the umbrellas, splish splash of water by our wellies, tap tap of heavy drops on wide tree leaves.

It’s funny what makes children happy.

Salty

I am challenging myself to write a post every single day in May, to kickstart my writing again. I will be following some prompt words that I ‘stole’ from somebody on instagram. Here is my seventh post.

 

Fish and chips

On an oily white paper

Wrapped up tight

Vinegar

Golden chunks

Crunchy batter

Sprinkled

Lavishly

Lovingly

With salt

As the sun sets over the horizon

And the waves rush over the pebbles

To greet the night.

Weight

I am challenging myself to write a post every single day in May, to kickstart my writing again. I will be following some prompt words that I ‘stole’ from somebody on instagram. Here is my sixth post.

 

Well well well, I see you have found the scales.

Go on then. Stand on it, do. Won’t do you no harm. Sure, a number will pop up, but that should only show you how much mass you have accumulated on your years here on earth.

Would be very different on the moon. You’d weigh less there – but perhaps if humans inhibited the moon there would still be a stigma, just on a different range of weights.

When you were a baby your mother anticipated each weighing you had. They stripped you and sometimes you cried, your little naked chubby body going blotchy because there was a draft. They laid you gently on the hard plastic of the scale and your mother – well she squealed in excitement when she disovered you’d almost doubled in weight since the day you were born. She sure does remember your exact weight and treasures it in her heart for some odd reason.

Yes he weighed 3.45kg when he was born and now he weighs 5.9kg, isn’t he growing fabulously!?

Such pride and happiness in her voice. She longs for you to grow and yet laments your tiny self from a month ago.

So weight is important. If you weren’t increasing in weight they would worry. If you increased too much they would also worry.

It’s just when you reach a certain age. An age where weight seems to become evil and high numbers on a scale are devastating. People begin to become fixated on these numbers, and eat green things in favour of beige things in the hopes that the scales will read them a lower value.

Some barely eat at all.

But no.

Those scales you are standing on are just an inanimate object. Revel in your mass. Revel in your form. It takes up just the right amount of space here on earth, and presses down on our planet along with billions of other masses – the comforting humdrum thump thump of earthlings weighed down by gravity.

All it is is gravity. Your weight. Here on earth.

Eggs

I am challenging myself to write a post every single day in May, to kickstart my writing again. I will be following some prompt words that I ‘stole’ from somebody on instagram. Here is my fifth post.

Eggs. Where would we be without eggs, huh? There is something fine about eggs, for all their unsavoury texture when raw.

Eggs are the epitome of health, according to sumo wrestlers. The rumour went, when we were kids, that sumo wrestlers had raw eggs in a glass of milk for breakfast. Makes them strong, the children would nod wisely at each other, and mime disgusted faces, but I could NEVER do that!

Some people do, though. Like what is it about carbonara and eggs? I feel like the eggs are raw still, even though they supposedly ‘cook’ in the heat of the pasta. If the egg is still runny then to me it is raw. So for that reason I can’t bring myself to enjoy carbonara.

Same thing with eggnog. Gross.

Also, eggs Benedict. The hollandaise sauce contains raw eggs.

Personally I don’t like the yolk to be runny when I have fried eggs. Sometimes I like a soft boiled egg but oftentimes the smell just puts me off. There is something divine about fresh organic eggs from happy hens. They cost a lot of money but they taste wonderful.

What do you think about this whole raw eggs business?

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Red Lips

I am challenging myself to write a post every single day in May, to kickstart my writing again. I will be following some prompt words that I ‘stole’ from somebody on instagram. Here is my fourth post.

My to-do list is huge. There are so many things on it that get pushed and pushed and pushed back until they are curled and blackened and covered in layers of wanting to be clean.

Other things take precedence.

Bottoms must be wiped. I know, such a charming topic. Clothes to be changed, cries to be soothed, cuddles to be given and soft chunky little bodies to be fed and bathed and rocked gently to sleep.

Lullabies to be sung.

Baby clothes to be washed.

The floors can wait, my hair needs care, nails are bitten down to stumps and polish dries in glass bottles as the dust settles on their lids.

Lips are cracked.

I wore a red dress at my wedding party. After the white one. An A-line princess neck dress, embroidered bodice, tulle under a skirt that flared out just enough to be elegant. Not too much. A red dress and red lipstick, sultry and deep and when I look at photos of myself I do not recognise that carefree girl.

I want a baby, I told my husband, I have so much love inside me and it wants to come out.

Give it to me, instead, he told me. And I did, of course. Red lips and high heels and night dates and spotlights and kisses in the moonlight, in the heat of the sun. Kisses before and after work. Sleepy ones and excited ones and ones that are routine, barely noticed and vaguely appreciated.

And red lips. Perpetually. The soft click of a good quality lid, the deft twist and the scarlet balm smeared on two lips in a matter of seconds, turned up hair and a pretty dress. So much love to give, galavanting from place to place. Work to home and travelling here and there in between.

Evenings enjoyed. Nights slept in full. Mornings together, just the two of us. So much love to give. So much given. Eyes meeting and smiles amid hours of companionable silence.

I don’t wear lipstick anymore. Ever. Barely. Silence is fleeting, moments together are snatched. Cuddles involve tiny arms and legs, and two large heads cooing over a small one.

I don’t have red lips. But I still do have so much love to give.

 

Stars

I am challenging myself to write a post every single day in May, to kickstart my writing again. I will be following some prompt words that I ‘stole’ from somebody on instagram. Here is my second post.

There were three stars, in a straight line. And they followed her wherever she went. Up North, down South. In the Eastern hemisphere, where the world was tropical and the heat and humidity battered her body until she oozed from every orifice. In the Western hemisphere where the days were icy and short and then terribly, terribly long. Every night, three stars in a row.

If she looked up at the sky her eyes searched and searched for three in a row, just like that.

She didn’t know what they were called, or if they were part of some larger constellation. Scrap that, who cares for the constellations.

As long as there were three stars just like that. Just that, as long as there were those stars. She didn’t know what came after that. Just that she had to see them.

When she learned about space it was always with awe. A deep expanse of blackness and nothing and airless floating, containing worlds of light and gas. Black holes bending time and space, folds of dimensions expanding and contracting. Complex and unnerving, terrifying and beautiful.

But when she looked up, all she could see were the stars. Her three stars, amid a myriad of others. Sometimes more, sometimes less, depending on where she was.

Dependable. From her safe haven on earth.

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